Thursday, May 25, 2006

On the Bush & Blair show

On this spectacle from last night, "Bush, Blair Hold Joint News Conference," let me just say, right off the bat, that continues to pale in comparison to Blair at these events. To a frightening extent. Bush barely managed to get out his prepared speech, only mangling it a few times, as simply worded as it was. Blair then extensively riffs off the cuff in impressive detail about his visit to Iraq in an engaging and inspiring manner. The unbearable contrast is just so freaking painful to watch.

And on to the questions. A few observations.

Bush, when questioned on a draw down of troops to 100,000 provides his inevitable moment of petulance:
QUESTION: So the 100,000...

BUSH: That's some speculation in the press that they haven't talked to me about.

BUSH: And as the commander in chief, they eventually will talk to me about it.
I'm the decider everyone, don't you forget that...

And there were many occasions of Bush inanity, adding nothing insightful to any given topic but keenly mouthing platitudes:
Because I believe that freedom will yield the peace. I also believe freedom is universal. I don't believe freedom is just, you know, a concept only for America or Great Britain; it's a universal concept.

And it troubles me to know that there are people locked in tyrannical societies that suffer.
...
It's incredibly dangerous to think of an Iran with a nuclear weapon.
Then there's a Brownie moment, on Treasury Secretary Snow, who, oops, signalled his resignation tonight, after Bush said this to the world:
BUSH: No, he has not talked to me about resignation. I think he's doing a fine job. I mean, after all, our economy is strong. We grew at 3.5 percent last year, had a good strong first quarter this year. (emphasis added)
Always the last one to know. Guess no one told him Snow was on his way out. Or Snow decided to stick it to him tonight.

And of course, the staged response on what he's done wrong, just pathetically self-indulgent and minimalistic:
QUESTION: Mr. President, you spoke about missteps and mistakes in Iraq.

Could I ask both of you which missteps and mistakes of your own you most regret?

BUSH: Sounds like kind of a familiar refrain here.

Saying, "Bring it on"; kind of tough talk, you know, that sent the wrong signal to people. I learned some lessons about expressing myself maybe in a little more sophisticated manner, you know. "Wanted, dead or alive"; that kind of talk. I think in certain parts of the world it was misinterpreted. And so I learned from that.

BUSH: And, you know, I think the biggest mistake that's happened so far, at least from our country's involvement in Iraq, is Abu Ghraib. We've been paying for that for a long period of time.

And it's -- unlike Iraq, however, under Saddam, the people who committed those acts were brought to justice. They have been given a fair trial and tried and convicted.
At least Blair spoke to the larger mistakes such as the way "de-Baathification" occurred and the prospect of a Saddam-less Iraq not actually turning out to be a fully functioning democracy.

If this event was meant to provide Bush with a boost, I guess you can tell what my view is of that.